Hattiesburg police react to children left in cars

By Colleen Donovan - bio | email

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The case of a mother charged with felony child neglect because police said she left her baby boy in a car while she went to Wal-Mart on Sunday has sparked questions from WDAM viewers about what constitutes neglect.

Hattiesburg police arrested Bobby Joe McSwain in the parking lot of Wal-Mart on Highway 49 in Hattiesburg on Sunday after police said she left her 9-month-old son in the car while she shopped.

McSwain's bond was set at $25,000.

Sergeant Allen Murray with the Hattiesburg Police Department said parents are breaking the law by leaving a child in a car- if  the child could potentially be harmed.

He said harm could include heat exhaustion or even unsupervised kids who could put a car in gear and cause an accident.

Murray said parents need to be mindful of not leaving kids younger than school-age in the car alone, even if parents are running a quick errand.

"However, you have to draw a line between the age of the children with the maturity of the children and plus the conditions outside," said Murray. "It could be hot, it could be a severe storm going on. Or else you could be caught up for a significant period of time inside that you shouldn't leave the children alone for," said Murray.

Murray adds besides potential health ricks to children left alone in cars, there are other dangers such as the possibility of a kidnapping.

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